Three Excuses To The American Dream

Over the years I’ve briefed many soldiers and their spouses about home ownership and how easy it is to owning your home while serving in the US Armed Forces. However it became a trend based on my observation that to every ten soldier and their spouses I’ve spoken with, there are three recurring excuses that comes up all the time.

One excuse that I’m told all the time is, “I’m not from this state and don’t plan on retiring here. Lets use Hawaii as an example state, a military family with one spouse on active duty and no kids gets approximately $3000 (BAH) Basic Allowance For Housing. Therefore if you multiply that by twelve months its a whooping $36,000 and then multiply that number by three years, its a crazy $108,000.

The second excuse I’m told is that “the Condos and Houses in Hawaii are to small and expensive for the asking price. Even though I totally agree with that excuse, real estate is all about location, location, location.  However I think its wiser to own and put that $108, 000 into your own home, which is building up your family’s wealth over time.

Thirdly I’m told by soldiers and their spouses, “I don’t think we are ready to take on such a big responsibility”. Even though this may be a reasonable excuse, I beg to differ because soldiers on a daily bases are held accountable and responsible for equipment that far out value the cost of a house.

So to my fellow Soldiers, Spouses and Veterans you all have been in charge, responsible and accountable for far more expensive government hardwear, software and equipment.  Therefore it is only wise to make owning a home part of your family’s inventory.






  1. Hi Barry,

    Thank you for sharing your thought and experiences pertaining to the excuses people make when it comes to homeownership. I can completely relate to this post, because I too was a soldier on Oahu (Schofield Barracks) who actually bought a home while in service. Unlike those who make excuses, I was motivated and ready to own a home in Hawaii, and actually accomplished doing so. I am now a Realtor here in the state Hawaii, and what I can say is that these are very common excuses, but we must remember that excuses are simply poor minded responses.

    I would like to elaborate further on the benefits you’ve used to mitigate for each excuse. Fort those who make the excuse of not being from the state, and or planning to move after their service tour is done (usually 3 years in Hawaii), what I can say (along with loosing out on the $108,000 BAH) is that you actually pay yourself opposed to paying someone else. Think about it logically, would you rather pay mortgage down or pay down your own? Would you rather be an owner or be indebted to an owner? It’s really a simple concept to grasp. Along with this, you can use the interest on the mortgage as a tax deduction, and (to put the cherry on the top) real estate on Oahu not only increases in appreciation on average by about 6% or so for the last 35 years, but prices of homes and rents nearly double every 10 years. This leads me to the second excuse….

    It is true that condos and homes may be small for the asking price, but what people are missing here is the reason why. Most folks look at prices on Oahu and compare them to the prices there use to seeing back on the mainland (the rest of the U.S.). However, what people fail to realize is that the land alone can often be worth more in value than the actual structure on it. Furthermore, the demand is extremely high, due to a huge inventory shortage that is close to impossible for the State of Hawaii and developers to meet. Just to give you an example of what I mean, there are about 1.4 million people in the State of Hawaii, and out of that about 970,000 (almost 1 million) live on Oahu. Here’s where people are missing a huge portion of data when concluding to the excuses they make: there has roughly been about 2,200 to 2,300 homes available on the market for the last 5 years or so. On top of this, there are close to 9 million visitors that come to Hawaii each year. The state issues around 1,500 permits to developers to build housing, but the developers do not even use them all. We are about 60,000 home behind schedule to keep up with the influx of the current population, which is actually expected to rise here in the near future. What I am referring to here is basic economics 101. We can just put it into a formula that looks something like this: highly desirable place + low inventory= highly priced real estate. If you are an owner of a home here, not only would you be able to rent out your place and have a high occupancy, but over the years of owning the property, you will be able to generate a healthy amount of cash flow from the average median increases (derived from both price and rent increases). It’s literally a no brainer to buy a home on Oahu.

    The third excuse is very interesting, and you make a good point. To further add to your point (pertaining to being responsible for personnel and equipment worth and valued more than a home), each soldier knows that they themselves face the possibility of going to war and risking their life. So wait a minute, your telling me your responsible enough to die, but not to own a home before you die? Another fallacy exposed. Not only do you make tax free money (BAH) to purchase a home, but the government actually allowed soldiers to receive the VA home loan to buy homes, and in places like Oahu, where the rent and prices continue to increase, your actually buying an asset that is going to make you money over time. Of course each market varies and we do not know exactly what the over all economic market will do tomorrow, but even in situations like the 2008 mortgage meltdown crisis we seen Oahu’s market recover really fast compared to other markets. Keep in mind that while other markets in the nation haven’t fully recovered yet, Oahu’s market recovered nearly 2 years ago.

    While selling a property to my teacher in college a couple of years ago, I remember when she asked me “Steven, what is the worst thing that can happen if I buy a home here on Oahu?” You see, her biggest fear was being able to pay her mortgage in the event she lost her job after her several year contract she had with the school. Also, at the time my teacher asked me this question, while sitting face to face with her in her office at University of Hawaii, I had discovered and was aware of the fact that she had been renting prior to the question she posed. My response to her was “it’s not matter of what is the worst thing that can happen as an owner, but rather what is the worst thing that can happen as a renter?” From there I gave her an example, “if I was a renter and lost my job and could not pay my rent, I would most likely be kicked out of the apartment I was renting. Form that point on I would have to move on with my life, and I would be left with nothing except and hopefully my full security deposit. However, if I was an owner and could not afford to pay my mortgage, life would be much easier, because I could easily rent out my unit, have some else pay my mortgage for me, and begin making some cashflow.” To all readers reading this, and so you know, a monthly mortgage payment is usually lower than the rents here on Oahu. Yes, you heard that right, it is usually cheaper to be an owner than it is to be a renter. My teacher loved my response and found out later that was I was conveying to her was true.

    Of course there are many more common excuses I could cover here, that I often hear from people (both civilian and military) as a Realtor here on Oahu, but the fact of the matter is that an excuse is merely a way to keep yourself from achieving, while remaining in a stagnant bubble. The unfortunate part is that most people complain, wish to have more than, and are not happy with the stagnant bubble they find themselves in, but along with that most people I know would like to own a home. What I find to be the root of the issue is that most people who make excuses are either afraid due to a lack of knowledge, or flat out to stubborn to listen to the voice of reason. If people are afraid due to a lack of knowledge that is an easy fix, because almost every fear can be mitigated. However, for those who are flat out too stubborn to listen to reason, it may very well be a waste of time talking to them about the specific subject of homeownership. Time is really valuable, so it may be better to invest it elsewhere.

    Again, thank you so much Barry for sharing this post. It’s great that your helping people with this kind of information. I hope others will read it and listen to the voice of reason!

    Steven M.

      • Steven I just read your comment again and my friend you sure put a lot into your comment, so much great information again thanks bro.

  2. very informative, being your soldier once and knowing how much house prices can increase over a few years in hawaii, it’s always a wise decision to buy a house.

    • It is and I have come to understand that is how you build wealth over time, hope it was of some value to you.

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